Virgil Skinner served fourteen years for a murder he didn't commit. He's finally been exonerated, but he can't escape the gang he joined in order to survive. They'll do anything to keep him from telling what he knows.
The California Department of Corrections needs someone to infiltrate another gang and that someone is Virgil.
Assistant deputy warden Peyton Adams is opposed to having Virgil in her prison. How will she protect him if things go bad? Besides, she's attracted to him; she might even be falling in love with him. That makes her all the more desperate to keep him safe — and it gives him someone else to lose.
CommitmentNow.com: Inside is a really exciting book! It involves men and women on both sides of the law, and shows that humanity and evil often exist side by side. How did you first come up with the idea for Inside?
Brenda Novak: The idea actually came from watching PRISON BREAK. I missed the show when it aired (missed all four seasons), but my daughter had the the complete series and insisted I watch it. She said I'd love it, and she was absolutely right. It totally captivated me. But there wasn't enough focus on the romantic relationship between the two main characters. Each episode I'd wait for a short scene here or there--and it would end with me still wanting more. So...I decided to write a story that had the same gritty backdrop and a high octane plot but with a bit more focus on the love story.
CommitmentNow.com: Because the story plot involves a man who served time for a crime he didn’t commit and the assistant deputy warden whose job it is to keep him safe as he re-enters prison to help infiltrate a prison gang, readers of Inside really learn a lot about prison life and the California Department of Corrections! How much research went into this book?
Brenda: I actually did quite a bit of research for this book. I wanted it to come completely authentic. So I contacted Sergeant Dave Doglietti, whom I'd heard speak about his job doing investigative work inside Soledad Prison not long before, and he was gracious enough to answer all my questions. He invited me down and gave me a day-long tour of the prison. He even read my manuscript when it was finished to make sure I'd gotten all the details straight. He's become a good friend. He came to speak at my launch party and is going to take me to the shooting range next.
CommitmentNow.com: The chemistry between your two main characters, Virgil and Peyton is palpable! Did you enjoy creating those characters who, although seemingly so different, fall in love despite their best efforts not to?
Brenda: I absolutely love Virgil. He came to me so clearly. He's the quintessential "wounded" hero, a man who has been to hell and back and yet has managed to survive and retain his honor. I found myself rooting for him as the story progressed, so I knew he was worthy of Peyton. :-)
CommitmentNow.com: Before you start a new book, do you first develop the character or the plot?
Brenda: I always start with the suspense conflict. In this case that was pitting the lead characters against the powerful gang that taking over the prison. Then I figure out what the romantic conflict will be. I think the tension is so palpable in INSIDE because that conflict is so strong. Both characters are risking a huge amount (emotionally and physically) by falling in love with each other.
CommitmentNow.com: You are a best selling author, a wife and a mother! Describe a typical day in the life of Brenda Novak.
Brenda: I get up, get my kids off to school and take care of the business side of writing--which usually means that I do email or interviews or promotional tasks. Then I start writing and try to finish ten pages. I don't usually get that many done, but that's my goal. At some point, I work out for 70 minutes (my life is far too sedentary otherwise). Then I pick up the kids from school, help them with homework (if needed) and make dinner. After dinner, my husband and I often go for a drive during which I read him parts of the book, and he gives me feedback on whether or not it's "working." Hearing my words read aloud really helps me refine and edit. That's a standard day, but there are also many days when I'm traveling to speaking engagements or working on my annual online auction for diabetes research or researching my next idea. I love being able to spend the majority of my time creating.
CommitmentNow.com: What’s next for Brenda Novak?
Brenda: Book #2 and Book #3 of the Bulletproof Trilogy. IN SECONDS will be out August 30th, and IN CLOSE will be out October 25th.
New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Brenda Novak has penned over 40 novels. A two-time Rita nominee, she's won The National Reader's Choice, The Bookseller's Best, The Bookbuyer's Best and many other awards. She runs an annual on-line auction for diabetes research every May at http://www.brendanovak.com/. To date, she’s raised over $1 million. Brenda considers herself lucky to be a mother of five and married to the love of her life.